GUIDELINES FOR A CASE STUDY ANALYSIS IN GS PAPER 4

  • by Manoj K. Jha

A case study analysis provides a powerful tool for sorting through and resolving an ethical problem, regardless of its specific subject. A complete case analysis consists of the following five steps. Here we are mentioning the idea of case analysis; actual answer writing format in the examination will be different.

  1. Summarize the main problem and its setting

What are the essential elements of the situation and what is the ethical problem at issue? Summarize the key points of the case in your own words, writing as though you are explaining it to someone who is not familiar with it. Sortie helpful questions to guide you: Who are the key players? Who is affected by the outcome? Are there other important facts that are being assumed and left unstated? Although your summary need not be exhaustive, it should identify all of those salient facts that will be important to your analysis of the case. Be careful not to alter the facts of the case.

  1. List the possible ways of responding to the problem

What are the possible responses to the problem that is, in what different ways might a person (or a society) act if faced with the problem? Of all the imaginable responses, list – and briefly explain – the ones that seem most probable (both good and bad). Be sure to include the actual responses made by those who have been portrayed in the case itself. Although some of these responses may be obvious, others may require you to think more carefully and creatively. Don’t neglect either kind. Also, be certain that you include the response that you actually think is best – the one you ultimately will be defending as the right response.

  1. Identify and justify the one response that you think is morally/administratively best

Justifying our chosen response from all possible responses requires that you provide one- or more moral arguments in support of your preferred response. A moral argument, remember, includes moral principles and one or more descriptive statements, which together should support that judgment you believe describes the right response to the situation described in the case. Try to offer the most compelling arguments you can for your chosen response.

  1. Explain why the other possible responses are not as acceptable

A person who can only argue for his own view is merely biased. Moral thinking requires you to also be able to see a problem from the perspective of others. Thus, it is also necessary that you address the remaining responses, explaining why each of these is less desirable than the response you have chosen to defend. Note that as you argue against the other possible responses, you do not actually have to show that they are all morally wrong – you only need to show that your chosen response is better justified than any of the others.